Thursday, April 19, 2007

She watches over the ways of her household.... Part I

One of the most striking qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman is that she watches over the ways of her household. Just as her faith in the Lord is seen in every verse that describes her, so, too, is her watchfulness. Her watchful attitude helps her prepare her family for snow, allot the proper portion of food to her servants, seek out the freshest foods and the best goods at the best prices, manage a household and home business endeavors too, and, most importantly, be a loving wife and mother. A woman who is lax in her focus and oblivious to the goings on of her household would not be able to manage all that the worthy woman does.

Watchfulness is not only for women who aspire to be worthy wives. There are many verses in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, that call all followers of Jesus -- men and women, married and single -- to be watchful. Often, the command to be watchful is combined with the command to pray. Watchfulness and prayer walk hand in hand.

Here are just a few of the many verses that encourage us to be watchful:

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. Luke 12:35-38 KJV

(Here's the same passage in the NIV) Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. Luke 12:35-38 NIV

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15 NIV

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. I Corinthians 16:13 KJV

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:17-20 KJV

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. I Thessalonians 5:6

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. I Timothy 4:16 NIV

Is it any wonder that the cultivation of watchfulness, like the cultivation of any other quality listed in Proverbs 31, is something that any Christian can benefit from? After all, Christians make up the church, which is sometimes pictured as the bride of Christ. Whatever we see in the noble woman can be useful in our walk with God, as well.

Watchfulness is not my natural long suit. I am watchful when it comes to people and relationships. But, I can be very dense about little practical details. I can let my mind wander off into deep ponderings when I would do well to pay attention to the task at hand.

Since watchfulness is a trait of the heart, the truly watchful woman will be prayerful and observant in everything she does. Therefore, I have a way to go in cultivating this important trait. If you have a way to go, as well, do not be discouraged. With God's help and grace, we can all improve in this area.

If you would like to grow in watchfulness, here are some ideas to help you get started:

1) Pray. Ask God to help you be alert and watchful. Ask him to reveal any ways in your household that you need to know about. I have a friend who told me that she and her siblings used to wonder why they could never get anything past their mother. She always seemed to be in tune with what was going on. They asked her about it, and she told them that she prayed each morning for God to reveal anything that she needed to know.

2) Do a study of Bible verses related to watchfulness, diligence, and stewardship. Also, read verses that contain the words, watch, beware, be on guard, or take heed, look, hear, observe. Study the book fo Proverbs.

3) In your watchfulness, honor God's priorities and your husband's.

Next time, we'll talk about practical areas in which we can exercise watchfulness.



Julieann said...

This was a very good read as always--and thank you for the tips to look through my bible with:)


Elizabeth said...

Hi Julieann,

Hugs to you as you draw close to your due date. :)